Some Rambling about People as Mascots…

So lately in the news there has been a lot of talk about about Bomani Jones (Co-Host of ESPN’s Highly Questionable) and his wearing of the Caucasians shirt while on air.  In a nut shell, there are a number of predominately white individuals who have taken issue with this shirt, including a number of higher ups within ESPN.

I think it goes without saying that the fact that there is such uproar about a colored man wearing this shirt, thoroughly aggravating a large enough population of people to make this newsworthy, proves the point that Native American groups and supporters have been trying to make for decades that the Cleveland Indians name and/or logo is highly offensive.

I do not take the complete straight-lined stance of “people are not mascots” like many others do.  I feel that some mascots are very tastefully done.  For example:

  • Cleveland Indians:  This is probably the most offensive of the bunch.  Not only is the term “Indians” completely stupid, but the Chief Wahoo logo is beyond ridiculous and offensive.  Over 500 years ago, white Europeans came here in search of a new trade route to India, what they instead landed on was a continent they had never been to, that was inhabited by a people they had never encountered.  They mistaken thought these people were Indians.  Over 500 years later we haven’t even bothered to correct ourselves, and now a mediocre baseball team out of Ohio has the Chief Wahoo on their cap and call their team the Indians.
  • Washington Redskins:  This is a case where they don’t necessarily have an offensive logo.  In all honesty, I enjoy their logo, it is nothing inflammatory and truthfully is a “prouder” depiction of a Native American.  The main issue that comes from this team is their actual name, “Redskins”.  Truthfully, referring to a Native American as being a “Redskin” is along the same lines as using terms such as Jap, Gook, Spic, Nigger, Beaner, etc.
  • Atlanta Braves: Here is, in my opinion, an example of “using people as mascots” done correct.  A Brave was commonly referred to as a Native American warrior from the North American tribes, primarily located in the Southeast area of the modern day United States.  Truly, the Atlanta Braves are about on par with the Fighting Irish.  The logo is tastefully done, with the tomahawk, and there are no depictions of an actual group of people.  The Atlanta Braves, their namesake and logo are about on par with the New York Yankees or Milwaukee Brewers.
  • UND Fighting Sioux:  Here is, in my opinion, another example of using Native tribes done correctly.  UND was under a lot of fire from the NCAA for their use of the term Fighting Sioux, yet they went and met with the various Sioux Tribes in the area to obtain their blessing to continue to use the moniker.  All tribes agreed that this was okay, except one didn’t bother to give a stance either way, so therefore UND lost their namesake.  UND does not use offensive logos, and again Fighting Sioux is about on part with Fighting Irish (another college team).  I respect that UND currently stays “mascot free” while they are still working with the various powers that be to gain the ability to use the Fighting Sioux as their namesake again, one day.

I always find is so interesting when speaking about such things to other white males and how nonchalant they are about such an issue.  Basically their main argument is that these groups are being too easily offended or being soft.  This is rather ridiculous, and Jones’ use of the Caucasians shirt has brought to the forefront how easily it is to get offended when one is portrayed in a negative light purely based on something such as the color of their skin.  The unfortunate thing is that every single one of these white males will never even have to live a single day knowing what it is like to be disrespected purely based on something such as the color of their skin.  If you’re so sick of hearing about it, imagine how exhausting it must be to live it.

 

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